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Advocates, Children with Type 1 Diabetes Testify in Senate Hearing for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Children's Congress 2011


6/21/2011 6:22:36 AM

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, actorKevin Kline and children with type 1 diabetesfrom all over the country will testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs to thank Congress for its renewal last December of the Special Diabetes Program and highlight the importance of the federal government's commitment in helping to advance type 1 diabetes research. They will also urge federal officials to take immediate action to advance the testing of artificial pancreas systems, which could dramatically change the day-to-day management of type 1 diabetes. The Senate hearing, "Transforming Lives through Diabetes Research," will take place onJune 22, 2011from1:30-3:00 p.m. ETat Dirksen Senate Building, Room G50. JDRF International Chairman and actress Mary Tyler Moore will provide written testimony for the hearing.

Dr. Griffin Rodgers, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK); Dr. Charles ZimlikiChairman, Artificial Pancreas Critical Path Initiative at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA); and four children with type 1 diabetes will also testify in the Senate hearing chaired by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). The children are Caroline Jacobs, 14, fromShapleigh, Maine; Jack Schmittlein, 13, fromAvon, Connecticut; Kerry Morgan, 17, from Glen Allen, Virginia; and Jonathan Platt, 8, fromTarzana, California.

"People with type 1 diabetes desperately need better tools to manage the disease, prevent its life-threatening complications, and help alleviate the daily burden caused by the disease. An artificial pancreas, which would automatically monitor and regulate glucose levels, has the potential to transform the care of people with type 1 diabetes," said Jeffrey Brewer, President and CEO of JDRF. "During JDRF's Children's Congress in Washington, D.C., we will tell the FDA that they need to act now, and issue artificial pancreas guidance for public comment by this fall so that people with diabetes will have timely access to innovative, life-saving technologies," added Brewer.

During the hearing, the testifiers will thank Congress for renewing the Special Diabetes Program, which represents 35 percent of all the federal research dedicated to type 1 diabetes, last December. The testimonies will also emphasize the importance of continued medical research to advance promising science that will help improve the lives of the millions of Americans living with type 1 diabetes today. To that end, they will highlight the strong public-private partnership between JDRF, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The combination of federal diabetes research funding and private investments through JDRF has created one of the most effective public-private partnerships focused on disease research.

During the hearing, JDRF witnesses will also urge the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide clear and reasonable guidance for the next step in the testing of artificial pancreas systems to ensure these devices are brought to market as quickly as possible.

The development of artificial pancreas systems, which could transform the quality of life for people managing type 1 diabetes, is at a critical point and requires clear guidance from FDA to ensure the future testing of technology is consistent with regulatory expectations. Landmark studies conducted in hospital settings have shown that artificial pancreas devices were successful in improving glucose control in people with type 1 diabetes. Now, the technologies need to be tested outside the controlled hospital setting, in what are referred to as outpatient settings, to ensure that these devices are safe, effective, and made available to people with type 1 diabetes. Direction from the FDA on what these studies need to entail is essential to accelerating the delivery of this much-needed technology.

In fact, bipartisan majorities of the U.S. Congress and the nation's top diabetes clinical leaders have recently endorsed a guidance document proposed by JDRF, and based on recommendations from clinical experts. They strongly urged the FDA to adopt these recommendations and take immediate steps to accelerate the testing of artificial pancreas systems in outpatient settings.

The hearing is the culmination of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's (JDRF) Children's Congress in Washington, D.C. from June 20-22. JDRF's Children's Congress, one of the most powerful advocacy events on Capitol Hill, has been held every other year since 1999 and become the largest media and grassroots advocacy event held in support of finding better treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes.

More than 150 children and teenagers representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia will take part in JDRF's Children's Congress, which will include a Town Hall panel of influential role models in the public arena impacted by diabetes, a song performance of the Children's Congress theme, "Promise to Remember Me," in front of Capitol Hill, individual visits for each kid delegate with their senators and representatives, and the Senate hearing.

Joining these children in Washington, D.C. will be seven international delegates traveling from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The international delegates will partner with U.S. delegates to convey a clear message to the U.S. government that diabetes is a global problem that requires a global effort.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults, and can be fatal. Until a cure is found, people with type 1 diabetes have to test their blood sugar and give themselves insulin injections multiple times or use a pump each day, every day of their lives. And even with that intensive care, insulin is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its potential complications, which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation. Diabetes accounts for $174 billion in health care costs in the United States each year.

About JDRF

JDRF is the leader in research leading to a cure for type 1 diabetes in the world. It sets the global agenda for diabetes research, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of diabetes science worldwide.

The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly, and can be fatal. Until a cure is found, people with type 1 diabetes have to test their blood sugar and give themselves insulin injections multiple times or use a pump each day, every day of their lives. And even with that intensive care, insulin is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its potential and devastating complications, which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation.

Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.5 billion to diabetes research, including $107 million last year. More than 80 percent of JDRF's expenditures directly support research and research-related education.

For more information, visit the JDRF web site at www.jdrf.org or call 800-533-CURE.

For more information on Children's Congress, visit www.cc.jdrf.org.

SOURCE Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation


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